Mountford Chambers is committed to recruiting high quality pupils. We aim to offer an exceptional package of funding and training within our pupillage structure, and we have attracted many excellent candidates in recent years. We have been able to offer tenancies to most of our pupils on successful completion of their pupillage. We strive to offer the very best training for a successful career at the Bar and we endeavour to recruit candidates with the potential and talent to become future leaders in their field.
In order to ensure that we continue to recruit the best aspiring new barristers, we have significantly increased our pupillage awards which are now among the best in the market, and we have adjusted our marking criteria.
Pupils will be funded through a combination of an award scheme and guaranteed earnings. The overall award is up to £40,000 over the period of pupillage:
Chambers also pays for all compulsory training courses and encourages pupils to take time to prepare fully for the vital advocacy training provided by the Inns.
Mountford Chambers selects pupils who demonstrate a genuine interest in criminal and regulatory work. Applications will be assessed on six areas:
The application form is designed to elicit information reflecting the assessment criteria.
We are looking for individuals who are highly-motivated and demonstrate sound judgement. We use a dedicated and experienced team to assess all applications carefully; we are most impressed by candidates who are keen, tenacious and ready to face the challenges of a career at the Criminal Bar in difficult times when competition for work is fierce. We are interested in those with the passion and drive to succeed and build up a practice in an ever-changing branch of the profession. Above all, we are looking for strong advocates with ability, charisma and potential.
Each pupil will have a different supervisor after 3 months, then 4 months, and then 5 months, in order to ensure maximum exposure to different types of work and advocacy styles. Support is also provided from members of chambers independent to pupil supervisors.
Throughout pupillage, Chambers has weekly in-house advocacy training which provides our pupils with the necessary skills to survive in their early days in Court. Chambers also offers 24-hour support and guidance if and when the need arises. All pupils are fully involved in the life of Mountford Chambers during their time with us and are invited to social events and Chambers lectures giving them the opportunity to meet members of Chambers as well as solicitors.
During their first six months our pupils will experience a wide range Court work from high-profile and complex cases in the Crown Court to more straightforward matters before Magistrates. Once on their feet, they should expect to be extremely busy and will be instructed to conduct court work, including trials, in both the Magistrates’ and the Crown Court.
We aim to give pupils all of the knowledge, skills and practical experience that will equip them for a successful career at the Bar. Upon successful completion of the initial 12-month period pupils will be invited to apply for a third six. In order to maximise a pupil’s opportunity to consolidate relationships with solicitors and to develop a thriving practice, any decision as to tenancy would not ordinarily take place until a pupil has been on their feet for 10-12 months.
During the first six months of pupillage, a pupil will spend three months each with two different supervisors in order to ensure maximum exposure to different types of work and advocacy styles. The pupil will find themselves in Court virtually every day, accompanying their supervisor to trials and pre-trial hearings, sentencing hearings and appeals; outside of the courtroom, the pupil will attend conferences and prison visits.
A vital part of pupillage involves reading the case papers and preparing the case as if it were the pupil’s own trial – case analysis, drafting applications, preparing questioning and speeches – and discussing the outcomes with the pupil supervisor. We aim to ensure that feedback on written work and case discussion is ongoing during pupillage so that our pupils are thoroughly prepared, confident, and highly skilled when they are first on their feet in second six.
There will be opportunities to work with and for other members of chambers in addition to the pupil supervisor. It is important to us that our pupils feel part of chambers – that they come to know a wide number of tenants and, importantly, that our tenants come to know our pupils well in advance of any tenancy decision.
Prior to the end of the first six, we encourage our pupils to attend court with working pupils and junior tenants to familiarise themselves with the process and procedures in the Magistrates Court and to acclimatise to the busy, high-pressure world of the young barrister.
Our working pupils are exceptionally busy, commonly dealing with multiple hearings every day of the working week, including trials, in the Magistrates and Crown Courts all over London and the South East.
New supervisors are allocated every three months and perform a more supervisory role given how busy the working pupil’s diary can be, but they still provide a constant source of advice, reassurance, and guidance as and when it becomes necessary. Pupils are given the opportunity to develop their practice and forge relationships with instructing solicitors with view to procuring work in their own name in due course and putting themselves in the strongest position for future tenancy applications, whether here or elsewhere.
At the conclusion of the second six, we invite pupils to continue into a third six with us so that they might enhance their written and oral advocacy skills further and build a practice to demonstrate their potential to become tenants in chambers. From time to time, we also take third sixes from elsewhere.